Work in Japan Advice Board

キービジュアル キービジュアル

Creative Career Path

Good Ritual for Takeaways2012.12.04

    Have you ever heard something that made great sense when you heard it, only to forget later what it was or how to apply it? There is so much information available today that it is easier than ever to overload your circuits. To prevent this, it is a good idea to form the ritual of leaving each experience with a good takeaway.


    The best takeaways are those which you create yourself. Here are a few things you can do to ensure that you walk away with real learning, rather than leaving empty handed.


    When you hear or read something you consider to be useful:


    Take notes to capture it Make a habit of carrying a small notebook wherever you go, preferably something that fits in your day planner. Make a habit of taking notes in the context of your daily activities.


    Paraphrase to check it If you are in a position to dialog or ask questions about the information, form the habit of paraphrasing what you have heard to make sure you got it right. This will clarify and magnify the message.


    Summarize to secure it If you've ever tried to read notes that you took some months ago, you realize how helpful a good summary can be in saving time and reinforcing understanding. Make your summary while it is still fresh in mind.


    Take action to apply it The best retention comes from the reinforcement in action. Applying what you learn heightens relevance and retention.


    There are several ways to do this. Keeping a notebook is the most reliable, reflective, and realistic way to capture your best ideas, particularly if you make lots of illustrations. You can keep paper journals or digital notebooks or both, according to your preference, and there are many products available to suit your taste. My favorite paper based journal is Moleskine (, and my favorite iPad digital notebook is Paper by FiftyThree ( Both of these combine the best of flexibility, philosophy, and an exquisite aesthetic touch.


    There are at least three good reasons why you should illustrate your journal. Images throughout your notes serve as a visual index to quickly locate ideas written months or years ago. Images engage all of your senses through your visual imagination, making the experiences come alive in their essential form. Images make your notebook more fun to look at and share with others.


    You will not be alone in this, but rather in the company of genius. The most creative and inventive people in history all kept highly illustrated notebooks, from DaVinci to Darwin, as well as Edison, Picasso, Hemingway, Mark Twain. Top athletes such as Serena Williams, and musicians such as rapper Eminem also keep notebooks, and depend on them to keep their creative and performing edge.


    Another way to do this is to share your notes on a social network. If you create a Facebook Page around a particular interest, you can gradually build enough multimedia content to attract others to your group, or even eventually collect your material and publish it as a book. This is a common approach followed by top bloggers such as Seth Godin (Permission Marketing) and Garr Reynolds (Presentation Zen), both of whom became bestselling authors. In fact, it is much easier to develop material for a book as you go, rather than sitting down and trying to churn it out in marathon writing sessions. Save that for editing when the time comes.


    Journaling in a notebook is a superior way to mark the passing of time, because it documents your progress and perspective over time. People who do not keep journals tend to feel that time passes like an arrow. Towards the end of the month or year, you often hear people remarking on how quickly the time has passed. It is as if they had slept through it! A calendar full of appointments doesn’t help to mark the time, because in many lines of work, one day tends to blend into the next in a sort of occupational blur.


    It is beautiful to watch a flower bloom in high speed photography, because it unfolds with beauty and grace. If we could observe our own lives in high speed photography, how much of it would seem as beautiful?


    Although the calendar and the clock are convenient ways to synchronize our activities, they are less meaningful as a means of measuring the passage of time. Linda Ellis pointed out, as author of The Dash Poem, that it isn’t the year of birth and death that matters so much as how we spend the Dash in between.

    A journal or dated notebook is an excellent way to measure what the past has meant, how we spend the time we have, as well as to imagine and navigate toward how we will spend the time we have left.


    So keep a notebook and date your entries in a consistent format. Make it a ritual to capture the best takeaways from your experience. Scan the pages each month to keep a digital copy as a backup, and watch your life unfold in a new way. The time may still pass quickly, but it will not pass without meaning.



    • このエントリーをはてなブックマークに追加

    Article Writer

    William Reed

    William Reed is a renowned author-speaker who coaches physical finesse and flexible focus for a creative career path. A certified Master Trainer in Guerrilla Marketing and 7th-dan in Aikido, he combines practical wisdom of East and West to help you learn personal branding at the Entrepreneurs Creative Edge.

    Similar Articles